I spend a lot of time and energy putting myself out there. It's literally critical to both my job (Shaklee) and my hobby (writing). It even comes up in parenting. Just recently, I had to make the socially awkward decision to not rescue my kid from the consequences of her own irresponsibility. There was another adult being affected by it who wanted me to step in and I had to put myself out there and say "No. I'm not going to do that and whatever repercussions come out of her not being prepared, feel free to allow them to happen." That's hard to do when the culture of parenting says you're a bad mom if you don't rearrange your day to accommodate your child.
In Shaklee, I initiate contact with people for a living. I think of people who may benefit from my products or my business opportunity and find natural moments to ask them if they'd be interested in hearing about it. Sometimes people say yes and sometimes people say no. But every reach out is putting myself out there. That's why when shit hit the fan with us when Penny was born, I didn't work for awhile. It takes a certain emotional energy and true confidence to offer things to people rather than to just live your life in response to what is offered to you. To create connection and opportunity deliberately takes chutzpuh.
Recently, this "putting myself out there" came up when my dear friend, Karvy, came to town and offered to help me with my website. She and her husband have back-logged all my blog posts from my original blog (it's all here now! 3 years of posts!), finally connect to my domain (my site is my name now!) and do a photo shoot for the site. The shoot was on Saturday. As is often the case, it was difficult to detach from the family's needs to go out in my cute makeup and my giant Ikea sack full of wardrobe to have pictures of just me taken. Sometimes family forgets that you want to be a person out in the world. And they're used to you being the one to help them dress and cut their pancakes. And husbands are too, especially after an insanely long work week (great timing!). So dressing up, separating from my daily stuff and getting out with a safe, generous friend to smile solo for the camera is not all that easy. I actually cried a little with Tim when I left the house. It can be so scary to put yourself out there, to chase your dreams, to take a risk, to say, "Here I am World, are you interested?" You wrestle with the demons of "Am I Enough?" or a creative's favorite, "Am I Unique?"
I think in putting yourself out there, you're taking your self-concept, your passions, your talent and bouncing it off the feedback of the world. Rather than staying in the cocoon you can create in your mind of self-affirmation (or is sometimes the case, self-criticism), you're saying to everyone around you, "Am I right in thinking I have something to offer?" "Do you want what I have to give?" I think it can even come to that very base place that asks, "Am I loved?" "Do I Matter?" "Is my life worth something?" Whew, that's heavy shit.
So, I wanted to say, PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. It's scary shit. But isn't everything that's meaningful? Isn't that part of it? Can the work that comes from fear be actually all the more vibrant? I think it's possible. Sometimes work born out of fear is awkward and people can tell you're afraid. But keep doing it and you'll warm up. I used to be really awkward when I started my business. You hear "No" a lot when you're awkward and you're trying to figure out what you're doing and you're creating something from nothing. But the more you do it, the more you own it. So if there's something you're doing that is new and it's awkward as hell but it matters to you, keep your vision, pick up the phone or hop online and keep putting yourself out there. Taking the pictures on Saturday, I eventually warmed up. Hell, I was practically Wonder Woman-ing it out there in the wildflowers with my poses by the end. It'll be sure to make you laugh and more importantly, I hope you see that whatever you need to Wonder Woman right now, just stand up tall and stick those arms out, friends. It'll be weird and you'll feel silly, But eventually, you'll own it. And if you won't, who will?